Feb 042013

Owen Courreges

New Orleans is the city of the pit bull.  Last year Gambit reported that New Orleans has one of the highest rates of pit bull ownership per capita in the country.  It is home to the Sula Foundation, a nonprofit aimed at “fostering responsible pit bull ownership” which raises money by selling yearly calendars of the “Pit Bulls of New Orleans.”  It is home to “Ban Ignorance, Not Pit Bulls,” a group established to “advocate for pit bull rights and educate the general public in a positive way that will help lessen the ignorance concerning pit bulls.”

For you TV junkies out there, the evidence is even more apparent.  The Animal Planet reality series “Pit Bulls and Parolees,” which pairs ex-cons with pit bulls, aired its 2012 season in New Orleans after relocating its rescue and adoption facility to the Lower 9th Ward from Los Angeles.  The show cited onerous regulations as the primary driver of the move. Continue reading »

Feb 032013

Officials stand near pieces of the Imagination Playground being donated to the city on Saturday. (submitted photo)

The “Super Saturday of Service” brought two citywide celebrations of volunteerism to the Lyons Center park in the Irish Channel, as the city received the donation of an “Imagination Playground” that includes large blue foam blocks for children to play with, and volunteers celebrated the replanting of the 20,000th tree since Hurricane Katrina. Continue reading »

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Feb 032013

The Superdome can be seen through a hole in the roof of the former Myrtle Banks school on O.C. Haley Boulevard, which is slated for redevelopment. (Photo by Steve Beatty used with permission from The Lens.)

While the Superdome and the so-called “Clean Zone” around it have been the focus of numerous improvements leading up to the Super Bowl, some of the city’s most severe blight remains literally right next door in Central City, as shown in a photo essay by the editors of The Lens.

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Jan 312013

Map of the sections of Broadway and Leonidas set to be repaved starting in the next few weeks — not to scale. (Map via pavinglaroads.com)

Rick Hathaway and Alex Wommack listen to residents’ concerns about the upcoming repaving of Broadway and Leonidas streets. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

A $5.6 million project to repave two miles of Broadway Street through the university area and half-mile segment of Leonidas in Hollygrove will start in the next few weeks, but residents who attended an informational session about the project Thursday night were skeptical that the new surfaces will last long as old pipes continue to crumble underneath. Continue reading »

Jan 302013

The vacant lot at 2101 Prytania (image via Google maps).

Firefighters battle the flames consuming the Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church on Prytania Street in January 2011. (UptownMessenger.com file photo)

A vacant lot on Prytania Street in the Lower Garden District where a century-old church burned down two years ago could become a small development of eight homes, based on plans discussed Tuesday afternoon by the city’s architectural review team. Continue reading »

Jan 282013

Freret resident Andy Brott, hydrologist W. Scott Lincoln and meteorologist Tim Erickson inspect a rain gauge on top of Brott’s house in mid January. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

For many New Orleanians, Hurricane Isaac will be remembered for the long week without power and the maddening uncertainty as to when it would return.

But for a group of National Weather Service researchers, Isaac has proven interesting for what did not happen — street flooding — despite their discovery of what appears to have been a band of abnormally heavy rainfall right across Uptown New Orleans.

“Our biggest question is, ‘Where did the water go?’” said emergency-response meteorologist Tim Erickson during a recent trip to Freret Street to investigate. Continue reading »

Jan 282013

(Cartoon by Owen Courreges)

Owen Courreges

The food truck debate in New Orleans is stirring once again.  City Councilwoman Stacy Head has floated legislation to loosen regulations of food trucks, which at present are largely unchanged from the 1950’s. These existing regulations make food truck operations a nearly impossible proposition, with draconian restrictions on permits, operating times and locations. Continue reading »

Jan 262013

A rendering of the Tulane Stadium released in September. (UptownMessenger.com file image)

Mayor Mitch Landrieu released the details of the agreement his office has reached with Tulane governing the use of the university’s proposed stadium on Friday, drawing swift reaction from neighborhood groups that it is still too lenient. Continue reading »

Jan 242013

“Deacon John” Moore speaks in favor of Jimmy’s Music Club before the City Council on Thursday. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Impassioned arguments from supporters of Jimmy’s Music Club on Willow Street could not dissuade the New Orleans City Council from unanimously voting in favor Thursday of a moratorium on new alcohol permits in the Carrollton area, as city leaders insisted that their action does not preclude the revered Uptown venue from reopening. Continue reading »

Jan 242013

Barbara Jackson, a former president of the St. Thomas neighborhood, leads a protest march Wednesday through the River Gardens development. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

River Gardens residents hold signs demanding respect on the front porch of the Hope House before their march Wednesday. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

A group of River Garden residents took their unhappiness with the development’s leaders to the streets on Wednesday afternoon, marching several blocks with signs and chants demanding better treatment from HRI Management. Continue reading »

Jan 232013

A map of the proposed moratorium on new alcohol sales in Carrollton. (map by Robert Morris, via maps.google.com)

A moratorium that requires any business in the Carrollton area that wishes to serve alcohol to get specific permission from the city could continue, based on a proposal before the New Orleans City Council this week. Continue reading »

Jan 232013

Jean-Paul Villere

Skipping for now over the Big Game hoo-ha that’s about to consume our nation’s attention (and glossing over the ample high dollar unlicensed daily rental scofflaws at the local level), I recently gave a glance to the proposed parade routes for this Carnival and raised my right eyebrow.  The traditional upper Napoleon route (read: where Rex rolls) is apparently still going to remain in effect this season despite the massive sandbox it has become a la a Michael Bay movie.  With all the chainlink, piledriving, construction equipment, and urban setting to me it looks like what I would imagine any given day shooting Transformers 4 would look like.  (I’m looking around for Mr. LeBouef but quickly remember Mr. Wahlberg will be assuming the lead in this next excursion into pseudo-future robotic mayhem, which in and of itself is funny because the theme song to the original cartoon film released in the theater in the 80s, which I saw in said theater BTW, was covered by Marky Mark when he starred in Boogie Nights.  Digressive nerdgasm accomplished.) Continue reading »

Jan 222013

The Pontchartrain Hotel on St. Charles Avenue. (UptownMessenger.com)

Bartender Gary Crystal can be seen in one of the mirrors lining the walls of the Bayou Bar, where a piano that once entertained the movie stars of yesteryear now is silent underneath a classic movie channel. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

A piano in a St. Charles Avenue hotel bar once frequented by the likes of Frank Sinatra may soon come back to life, following three quiet months since live music ended there amid a citywide crackdown on unpermitted live entertainment. Continue reading »

Jan 212013

Owen Courreges

A lot of you probably have questions concerning the recent indictment of former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin.  Now I know it’s frighteningly easy in our corruption-riddled state to become blasé about the latest federal indictment against a former (or current) elected official, but Nagin was supposed to be different.

Accordingly, I offer you, the dedicated readers of Uptown Messenger, the following frequently asked questions, phrased by a 1950’s stereotype, regarding the Nagin indictment: Continue reading »

Jan 172013

Police officers look for evidence near the corner of Annunciation and Washington after two men were shot there Nov. 26, 2012. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Irish Channel neighbors are worried that more violence may be lurking just beneath the surface at the notoriously troubled corner of Washington Avenue and Annunciation Street, despite a series of arrests in the wake of a double shooting there last November. Continue reading »

Jan 172013

Allan Katz and Danae Columbus

James E. Fitzmorris, Jr. is getting ready to celebrate his 90th birthday and the remarkable life that he has led.

He’s a former New Orleans city councilman and was a superb Lieutenant Governor for Louisiana. He ran for mayor twice, losing narrowly both times. He also ran for governor, just missing the runoff that was won by his friend, the late Dave Treen. For the last 32 years, Fitzmorris has been one of Louisiana’s best lobbyists. Even today, he is still at his desk at 8:15 a.m. and if you have a bill that you’d like to see passed in Baton Rouge, it’s a good idea to pay Fitzmorris a visit. Continue reading »

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